The contrast would look trite in fiction.
Facing Lincoln Park, the luxurious Lincoln Park 2520, where condo prices soar toward $6 million a unit. The building, opened in 2012, has two pools, a movie theater and a private garden. Designed by Chicago architect Lucien LaGrange, the center 39-story tower is flanked by a pair of 21-story wings, given a distinct Parisian air with its metal mansard roof.
Nestled behind — the building actually wraps around it — and sharing the same address is the National Shrine of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini. It’s the former chapel of Columbus Hospital, shuttered in 2001; when the 3-acre hospital site was sold to developers, the stipulation was the shrine would be preserved.
And it is, having re-opened in 2012. No pool, but the first American saint’s upper right arm bone displayed at the altar in a glass and bronze reliquary. The bedroom where she died in 1917. Her bed, where prayers for the sick are sometimes tucked under the pillow, and it is not
|Sister Bridget Zanin|
Born in Italy, Cabrini dreamt of working in China, but was sent to the United States instead, arriving in 1889. The contempt held for Italian-American immigrants at that time can hardly be overstated. They were seen as not white, lower than even the hated Irish, sometimes lynched — the largest mass lynching in the United States was of 11 Italian-Americans in New Orleans in 1891.
Cabrini, undeterred by all this, traveled the country, starting convents, schools, orphanages and hospitals. She was made a saint in 1946 — 100,000 people attended the celebratory mass at Soldier Field....
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